Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Is Google Evil?

Perhaps not, at least in the theological sense. That said, for a company that pertains to 'do no evil', Google could be more upfront in their privacy policy changes. If consent is predicated on information not just being available, but actively consumed and understood - Google should be doing more, particularly given its quasi-common carrier status. They have finally announced that they will begin tracking users universally across all its services (Gizmondo has a report here). This was released via a blog post (here), and goes into effect March 1. Google have worked harder on transparency and privacy in recent years, but more upfront information should be provided, particularly given their emphasis on forcing users to provide real names (as with Google Plus) and now the endeavour to tie all Google usage back to an individual's name.

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I am director of the Media and Persuasive Communication (MPC) network at Bangor University where I also lecture on political-economy of the media. I am currently working on a book provisionally titled Deconstructing Privacy for Peter Lang and leading two empirical projects in connection with privacy perception and the use of new media for smoking cessation. I am author of Creativity and Advertising: Affect, Events and Process (Routledge, 2013); The Mood of Information: A Critique of Behavioural Advertising (Continuum, 2011); and Digital Advertising (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2009). Please contact me at if you are interested in Ph.D supervision or consultancy services.